I know now that I was always a pagan. The things that I thought were just childish behaviors I see now had a leaning towards nature, spiritually, and quantum physics. Little did I know that paganism goes much, much, MUCH deeper into my identity. Paganism is in my DNA.

I love Yule. There is something about the darkest night that gives me permission to touch parts of myself that I normally wouldn’t, like internal feelings and judgments and psychic patterns. This year I decided to research paganism. I was curious about the pagans of New England as I always felt a strong connection to the witches of Connecticut as that is where my body was birthed.

I knew my roots were there, I just didn’t realize how far back they went. Maybe this was common knowledge to others but I just found out myself that paganism began in Italy.

There is actually a town called Pagani in Campania, which non-ironically I am quite sure I drove past while traveling down the A3 in 2012 when I visited the motherland.

I am pumped!! So here’s the deal. The land that on which Pagani currently resides switched hands and rulership several times during the rise of the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages around the 9th century a small group of people called the Saracens occupied the land.

Let’s hold up for a second. Saracens is a very old word dating back to the early 5th century. It was a name that Christian writers would use to label Arabs, or those who descended from Abraham’s older son Ishmael. There are some stories as to how and why people started associating with the title Saracens, but the TLDR version is that there were Christians and then there were Saracens: the ati-Christians. Hi, how are ya?

So when the city of Pagani — then Nuceria Paganorum — was founded by the family who’s name was literally Pagan, one might imagine that their surname was a lineage of pagans or Saracens.

So although I can’t in this moment prove that my DNA connects me to the Pagan family, I do know that my ancestors come from a similar area. Intuitively I feel that paganism was just a few generations back before Catholicism and Christianity converted my family to the dark side, but who knows.

Italian pride runs deep. As much as I don’t like over identifying with any one title or nation, the truth remains: I am 75% Italian and my ancestors connect me to the timeless comfort of paganism.

Anyone anywhere at any time can choose to be at peace with who they are, where they are, how they are. On this darkest night I remember the brightest light of all: a soul on fire.✨